Samuel L Jackson plays Darius Kincaid, an incarcerated hitman who’s a witness in a war crimes trial in The Hague. When the convoy transporting him is intercepted, Interpol Agent Rousell (Elodie Yung) has to look for alternate protection in the form of top bodyguard and former lover Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds), who also happens to be Darius’s arch-nemesis.
Samuel L Jackson gives his most, well, Samuel L Jackson performance in years. Freed from the shackles of the 12a certificate, there’s almost as many motherfuckers as bodies. He brings an incredible amount of energy for a man of almost 70. He yells, he shoots , and next to him the nondescript Ryan Reynolds makes an effective straight man.
Their characters are well-defined, like Lethal Weapon turned on its head, and the hit-and-miss jokes are made to work thanks to the pairing. There’s a strong supporting cast too, including Selma Hayek and Gary Oldman.
While slow to get going due to a fairly complex setup, this ultimately pays off in a surprisingly well-plotted third act which delivers twists and revelations to match the action. Director Patrick Hughes handles things well, getting us involved in the action while keeping the camera on the ridiculous stunts and iffy CGI.
It’s dumb but it’s fun, and what could have been a nonsensical mess like London Has Fallen is instead crafted into an amusing thriller. The Hitman’s Bodyguard does exactly what it says on the tin. Action-packed and enjoyable, it’s not going to win any awards, but may just earn itself a sequel.